My Homeschooling Experience

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After last week’s post on why we’re homeschooling, readers had some questions about what my homeschoolinge experience (3rd-8th grade) looked like. I thought I would answer in a short post tonight since tomorrow’s posting prospects are looking grim. Benjamin’s having trouble with his asthma and I have a premonition that tomorrow will involve a long morning at the Dr.’s office. (Please pray he improves tonight. His last attack landed him in the hospital and I’m just on pins and needles worried about my little guy.)

So, my experience homeschooling:

My parent’s approach was very literature-based. Basically, I just read all the time, mostly classics, some contemporary. My parents gave me some guidance, but I was a very self-motivated little gal and had the freedom to read whatever interested me (within reason I don’t remember wanting to read anything super trashy, but if I had I’m sure my folks would have redirected me.) This highly unstructured style worked in my situation because I was such a self-starter; however, we are planning a somewhat more structured curriculum for our kids.

In addition to daily reading, I would do creative writing projects and some essays in middle school. I also did math every day, studied Spanish on and off, and learned Greek and Latin root words. I would occasionally do science experiments and I created “unit studies” on whatever topic I was interested in: Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Romanovs, Greek Mythology, Arthurian legends, etc. I also participated in a middle school history fair, did historical re-enacting at a local historical site, and suffered through the county-wide public speaking contest. I was involved in tons of extra-curriculars: ballet, gymnastics, art, piano, voice.

That’s really it. I was usually finished with school work by 10am and spent lots of time riding bikes, playing with friends, and just being a kid.

When I went back to traditional school for high school I was generally bored and (except for two fantastic history classes) was not challenged academically.  I got straight As and was fully prepared when I entered college on full scholarship as a National Merit Scholar. So, the laid-back approach to homeschooling served me well as far as preparing me for high school and college and I got to skip going to middle school (which seems to be without exception, a misery of miseries.)

Were you homeschooled? What was your experience?

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  1. says

    Did your parents try this with your brother? Do you think it would have worked with other kids? How much does the structure depend on the child’s personality, do you think?

    • Haley says

      Because Garrett was in high school when they started homeschooling us, he mostly just started classes at TCC. I don’t think the same approach would have worked for him because he wasn’t as much of a self-starter. On the other hand, maybe if he had started homeschooling younger and had some say in what he was studying (my guess for 4th gradeish age is snakes, rockets, computers, etc) along with a somewhat more structured curriculum to fill in the gaps, he might have liked school a little more but it’s hard to say. I think a child’s personality is super important in considering what sort of structure they need. What are your thoughts after studying library science?

  2. says

    That all pretty much sounds like what I’d love to do 6th -8th or 7th-9th for my kids in the future – some structured studies for things like math and science (I’d probably want to co-op these subjects if possible) and then subject studies based on a combination of language, history and other social studies, literature, etc. with a focus on knowledge acquisition combined with refining the basics – with ample time to pursue music lessons and other activities.

    I still wish there was an option to send our kids to 1/2 time elementary school (like morning or afternoon kindergarten).

    • Haley says

      Love your middle school vision! I got to go to 1/2 Kindergarten and loved it. I wish you had more options to fit your schedule and what you want as far as schooling goes! I’m sure you’ll figure out something great, though.

  3. says

    I was homeschooled and absolutely loved it. My experience was a mixture of self-directed reading, structured study and co-op activities. I loved having the freedom to learn what I wanted to, but my mom worked part-time when I was in high school. So, I wish I would have had a little more accountability and parental direction during that time. That said, I still can’t think of a school I would rather have attended.

    • Haley says

      Like you, I loved being self-directed but after studying Great Texts in college I wish that I had encountered those texts in middle school and high school to fill in some gaps I had in my self-created reading curriculum. Glad to hear from a fellow homeschooler 🙂

  4. Stacey D. says

    My husband and I just started homeschooling our son (after MUCH prayer). He’s in 7th grade this year and not a ‘self starter’ by any means. Though he’s incredibly intelligent, he is intellectually lazy. It is very challenging, but I can’t imagine a better way to help him realize his potential and truly raise him in the ways he should go.

    PS – I just found your blog and I’m extremely intrigued. Especially since we are in the planning stages of an urban garden (and being a non-liturgical protestant journeying through the liturgical calendar this year).

    • Haley says

      Best of luck on your new journey into homeschooling! My parents started homeschooling my brother at about that age for similar reasons. He ended up duel enrolling in the local community college in early high school. I think maybe he just needed more of a challenge and to be treated like a grown up and he did well in his college courses.

      Hope you’re having a wonderful Advent 🙂

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